Updated on 15th December, 2022 by Martin Astley
There’s nothing amusing about a toilet that won’t stop running! If you’ve flushed the toilet once, but it’s been flushing continuously since, you don’t need to panic. In almost all cases, you can fix this problem in just a few minutes and with no specialist skills at all.
How to fix a toilet that won’t stop flushing
Is the flush stuck down?
If you flush the toilet with a lever, this lever can get stuck in the down position, forcing the toilet to run endlessly. Toilets that are flushed with a button are even more susceptible to this problem; if the button gets stuck, then the toilet won’t stop flushing until the button is unstuck.
If your toilet won’t stop flushing, a brief examination of the flush mechanism should reveal whether or not this is the problem. Resolving it is as simple as flushing the toilet again or jiggling the flush mechanism.
Examine your toilet
Take the lid off the cistern and look inside your toilet—especially if your toilet won’t stop filling. Try to figure out how your toilet works. Toilet technology hasn’t moved on very much in the last century—there are no microchips or complicated pipes—and a little intuition should give you a decent-enough idea of how your toilet functions.
If you can figure out how it works when it flushes properly, you might be able to figure out what is preventing it from working as it should.
Look at the overflow tube and water line
The overflow tube should be slightly above the water line. If the toilet overflows, this tube directs water to the cistern. If the water level is above the overflow tube, then the problem may be with your ballcock; if the water level is below the overflow tube, then your water valve may not be adjusted correctly. Turn your water valve up a little if your cistern is too empty and your toilet should fill up properly, or turn it down a little if it is forcing too much water into your toilet.
If there is too much water in your cistern, the pressure this puts on the flapper valve can open it up, forcing water through the valve and into the bowl. According to plumbing professional Dmitri Kara, water wasted could add up to double and triple the monthly usage of the average household.
Check the ballcock
The ballcock is a float, which is connected to a valve; when the toilet is empty, this float lets in water, and when the toilet reaches a certain level, the float closes the valve and shuts off the water supply. If the water won’t stop running in the toilet, it’s best to check: Is the connection between the float and the valve tangled? Or is something obstructing the float?
Manually pull the float up. Does this stop the water from running? If so, then you know that the source of your broken toilet is the ballcock.
If there are no tangles or obvious obstructions, you may have to manually adjust your ballcock. There may be screws or metal clips on the ballcock post. Pinch the metal clips or turn the screws to loosen your ballcock and change its position.
Check the flapper
When you flush the toilet, the flush is connected to a chain, which lifts a flapper up. This allows the water in the cistern to flow into the toilet bowl. When the cistern empties, the flapper should drop and stop the water from running.
If the flapper chain is tangled or misaligned, it won’t close properly, causing water to continue running into the toilet and the cistern to continue refilling. The flapper chain should be slightly slack; if it is too tight, the flapper will not shut properly, and if it is too slack, the toilet will not flush when you press the flush button or pull the chain.
Turn off the water
If this doesn’t work, then you should turn off the water supply to your toilet before attempting any other repairs, if only to stop wasting water.
The pipe that feeds the toilet contains a slot or screw that turns the water off. You should be able to turn this by hand.
Call an emergency plumber
You may need to replace your flapper, your ballcock, or another component. The problem might even be a bit more complicated, and might involve disassembling and reassembling your toilet.
Contact us on 0345 3192 247 and we can help! Our technical teams will run through some simple troubleshooting tips with you to see if your problem can be resolved over the phone. If not, we’ll send a highly skilled and qualified plumber round to get your toilet sorted on as soon as possible.
There could be a number of reasons for your constant flushing so it’s better to trust the professionals. After all, you could end up making it worse and you could be faced with a hefty bill to pay to repair the damage. We help, we repair, we care.
If you have home emergency cover with 247 Home Rescue, give us a bell on our 24/7 claims line, and we will send someone round to look at your toilet.
247 Home Rescue accepts no liability for any injuries or damages you sustain following the advice on this website. If in doubt, seek professional assistance.